"The Phantom Ship" was originally produced as a sound film; this silent version comes from a Super 8mm version of the film that was sold to the home market in the U.K. in the late 1960s/early 1970s. "The Phantom Ship" showcases the Ark Royal and its aircraft which at the time it was shot included Westland Sea King helicopters, F-4 Phantom attack aircraft, and Harrier jump jets. The film is notable in showing some of the capabilities the Royal Navy had at the time of the Falklands War.
The carrier is characterized as "the most powerful surface warship the Royal Navy has ever possessed". This power comes from its aircraft which are introduced over shots of launchings and take-offs - a Phantom FG.1 of 892 Squadron, Buccaneer S.2 of 809, Gannet AEW.3 of 849D (it should be 849B but this clip is from Eagle), Wessex HAR.1 of the SAR Flight and Sea King HAS.1 of 824. Crews and equipment are kept in shape by regular exercises. A well-shot sequence showing Phantoms being launched serves to describe the aircraft and the steam catapult. Buccaneers follow the Phantoms. With the assigned aircraft gone, the fitters and mechanics turn to servicing the aircraft remaining in and on the carrier - Ark Royal must always be ready for instant action. Ark Royal's diplomatic role - every member of the crew is in a sense a PR officer for the ship and for Britain. The usual 'interesting facts' about the number of officers and men, their average age (just 21), and the crew's weekly consumption of foodstuffs. The Phantoms and Buccaneers return to the ship to be talked down in a CCA exercise. The end of another peaceful exercise "and in a sense the existence of the Ark Royal and of the other ships of the Royal Navy is one of the reasons why the exercise was a peaceful one." A final aerial sequence shows the carrier replenishing from an O1 Class tanker - such refuelling extends her range, allowing her to be anywhere she is needed, "in fact if any vessel in the Royal Navy could be dubbed 'The Phantom Ship', its HMS Ark Royal.
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This film is part of the Periscope Film LLC archive, one of the largest historic military, transportation, and aviation stock footage collections in the USA. Entirely film backed, this material is available for licensing in 24p HD, 2k and 4k. For more information visit http://www.PeriscopeFilm.com